New Senate special election polling released - - Jackson, MS

New Senate special election polling released

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

It's still more than six months until the special election to fill Thad Cochran's U.S. Senate seat. But we're on round three on polling that's been released to the public.

The new Mason-Dixon polling shows recently appointed Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith in the lead. But Millsaps political science professor Kenneth Townsend says there are still plenty of variables that could change that.

"With 20 some odd percent of folks undecided in the recent polling, that shows that a lot of folks just don't know where they're going to land," said Townsend.

The poll originally sent out showed this as a typical election scenario with primaries. A correction was later sent, applying the numbers to a special election scenario.

Numbers show Hyde-Smith would have a double-digit advantage over Mike Espy in a runoff situation. But Espy would have a narrow lead if he ended up in a match-up with Chris McDaniel.

"One surprise though that in this latest poll, Cindy Hyde-Smith has relatively low name recognition," noted Townsend. "That was a little bit of a surprise, particularly given the fact that she is running as an incumbent, although not a traditional incumbent and has been elected to statewide office in recent years."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already started running TV ads related to the race. First, an ad in support of Cindy Hyde-Smith. Now, an anti-Chris McDaniel ad.

"There are a lot of people, though, that haven't been paying attention," added Townsend. "And for those folks, the TV ads are the first opportunity for them to know that something's going on."

McDaniel is asking for the ads to be pulled, saying he is not a "trial lawyer" but rather that his work is focused on defending clients from civil lawsuits brought by trial lawyers. Townsend says it's no surprise to see concern from McDaniel's camp on ads like that.

"Cause they recognize that things have to go right at each step of the way for him to secure the nomination," he noted.

The polling did not show numbers for Democrat Jason Shelton who has also filed his qualifying papers. With several months to go, you can expect to see even more polling and predictions between now and then.

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